Sunday, October 17, 2021

How I became a true feminist, by Hadiza Yuguda

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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“A woman is like a tea bag, you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Women are wonderful creatures from God. They are carefully made in beautiful shapes and sizes. A woman is a star because women shine in the world. Literally, they run and control the world directly or indirectly.

There is a saying that says “it is a man’s world!” Although it’s just a saying, the truth of the matter is that the world belongs to women because they run the universe. Women are the bedrock of the world. Every woman in her own way is beautiful, important, special, fabulous, unique, smart, cute, adorable, strong, nice, kind and relentless. Words can’t really be enough to describe how incredible and amazing women are. Believe me, the list could go on and on. Women are great in what they put their minds at. They contribute positively, at least 50% of the world’s growth and development is attributable to women. More so, women are productive and have potentials at home, workplaces and businesses.

However, it’s perplexing how some women seem to have zero tolerance and appreciation for each other. I wonder why, but I am still looking for an answer: Did I hear someone say jealousy? But jealousy is a human nature and men get jealous too. We only have to do it wisely. If you are sharing your husband or boyfriend with another woman, yes you have the right to be jealous because you are not in control of it. It is something that comes from within. It is a powerful nature beyond our control.

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If I may share some of my life experiences, I can confidently say that most women are not nice towards one another. I remember back in 2015 when I came into the country after completing my Masters in the UK, my late friend who was a former permanent secretary at the NNPC phoned to congratulate me for a safe and successful study trip. He, there and then, told me to bring my CV to him. When I did that, he gave me an option to choose from two jobs at the two of the agencies under the NNPC. When I did a background check at the two places, I discovered that one of the two agencies was headed by a woman. So I picked that one, thinking that I would not have much challenge because she is also a woman like me. To my surprise, that was my biggest mistake. When he called her to his office and she came in, I stood up with a smile and greeted her, but from the way she looked at me and answered my greeting, I knew there was a problem. That first impression got me thinking whether I did something wrong by standing up to greet her, or something. I then sat back quietly on my seat.

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Now, the permanent secretary introduced me to her and gave her my CV and said, ‘please assist her with a job in the Human Resource Department. I have gone through her CV, she is qualified.’ She was all smiles in front of him and was just saying, “Yes sir, yes sir anything you say, sir.” She then turned to me and gave me her phone number to call on Tuesday. Why Tuesday, he asked. She then told him that she would be travelling the next day which was Friday for the weekend to see her family and would be coming back on Monday morning and on Monday afternoon she would be having a meeting at the Ville. So she would only be free on Tuesday. When she left, I told the permanent secretary that she would not give me the job because it was written all over her. But, you know sometimes men can be naïve. So he said, “No! She will because she doesn’t have a choice.”

It was a rainy morning when I called her that Tuesday. She told me that her personal assistant would call me and I said okay and waited for his call. He finally called me the following day and told me to send the soft copy of my CV to his email address. I called her the next day and that was when the story began. She asked me to call her in two weeks’ time. When I did, she said she was travelling for her children’s graduation in the UK and she would be back in two weeks. Thereafter, I kept calling her and she kept postponing our meeting, playing with my intelligence. I finally gave up, but I wasn’t happy with her. After two months, when the APC newly came into power in 2015, I got a call from a friend in her office, that she was calling some governors and some top government officials to bring their candidates for quick employment. I was then told that she was trying to bribe her way to retain her position as the Executive secretary of the agency. God is the greatest! She was removed as the Executive Secretary in January 2016. Just a thought, had it been she helped me, maybe God would have helped her secure her position, you never know.

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Moreover, another incident was when I came into Abuja newly in 2011, I met one of my secondary school friends at a meeting of the Unity School Old Student Association (USOSA). We were both happy to see each other. We started hanging out frequently and sometimes I stayed at her place because I suddenly became comfortable with her because she was someone we grew up together. I shared most of my thoughts and secrets with her, because I believed she was my friend. Unfortunately, news started spreading about me like a wildfire. I started hearing bad things against me. I didn’t know how she started going around spoiling my name. My other girlfriends started advising me to stay away from her. I refused and thought they were envious of our friendship because she was good to me. She did not give me any reason to doubt her. She was very nice to me. One day she sent my personal picture to her phone without my consent and sent it to her male friend who happened to be a friend to my sister’s husband. Unfortunate, the innocent wife opened her husband’s phone and saw my picture in a bikini and just concluded that I was going out with her husband. That was how another drama started.

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Ladies what would you get selling your fellow lady out? Why defaming the character of someone that has nothing against you? Before you could say, Jack Robinson, my picture went viral. Ladies began to talk behind my back, saying nasty things against me. My best friend stopped picking my calls and refused to return them. For all these while I didn’t know what was going on, because nobody told me anything. They were just looking at me with it and abusing me behind my back. My best friend got married without inviting me and that was when I sensed that something was wrong somewhere. It was a friend from Kano that told me what was going on because I complained to her. I was shocked at the hearing of it. Immediately, I confronted my best friend’s sister’s husband and he told me where and how he got my picture. Ever since, I learnt to be on my own. I disengaged myself from the company of so many ladies and withdrew from all my girlfriends because I was shattered and disappointed. I always have people at heart, I try to be nice and helpful to people regardless of their gender, age, religion and tribe. I respect women because I want us to start tolerating each other, all to no avail.

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Ladies, let’s know our worth, let’s believe in ourselves. With that, we can lift one another. We should learn to help each other. We should remove all sentiments. Ladies let’s have this feeling of belonging. Let’s be compassionate and be there for each other.

“I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves,” Mary Shelley once said. So, life is too short, it is not worth envying and spoiling each other’s reputation over something that won’t benefit you, or last forever. I call on women to maintain their dignity and integrity.

She can also be reached at [email protected]
and @hadeezahy on Twitter.

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